Moi 🙂 A newly qualified SSI Open Water Diver!
That’s right folks, I passed! I scored 96% in my theory 🙂 Jeez the practical side was incredibly hard in some ways but easy in others. We did two days of theory and practicing in the pool then went straight out to sea! The two hardest skills to learn were clearing your mask under water (easier than you think) and sharing your regulator with your buddy (in the event that you’re stupid enough not to have done your pre-dive checks and run out of air).
I was in a group with two women (South African and British both working in Saudi Arabia) and our instructor was an Aussie called Matt so, stereotypically, our learning was very relaxed and we missed out all the ‘bullshit’ haha. Don’t worry though, I still know everything I need.
I was scared to death before the first open water dive because you know that if something goes wrong and you panic (when practicing your skills or diving for real) you have no choice but to stay underwater because if you ascend too quickly you could die (that last part of the sentence kind of takes the fun out of it right?!). However, in a way, knowing that you have to stay calm, not panic and can’t surface it actually keeps you calm because you know that you have to sort the problem out. The hardest part (and something that will take many dives to grasp) is neutral buoyancy. That’s when you can hover without sinking or floating and all you need to raise/lower yourself is inhaling and exhaling. Believe me, it’s WAY harder than you think.
So that’s the technical bit out of the way…did I enjoy myself? Not for the moment and it probably won’t be ‘fun’ for a while until I’m more comfortable with my abilities and not trying to concentrate so much. BUT it was FASCINATING! We saw barracudas, puffer fish, moray eels to name just a few. It was so surreal though. Because you only go to 18m/30ft max (and not the ‘big blue’) you feel like you’re diving into a huge fish tank at your local aquarium though I have NEVER seen so many thousands of fish at once. You couldn’t decide where to look there was so much to see! My favourite by far, however, was the parrot fish because there are so many varieties and they’re all so colourful.
The last dive today was the most difficult. We had a 0.6 current which doesn’t sound a lot but if I tell you that to move you don’t swim but let the current take you with it that should give you an idea…imagine the East Australian Current scene in Finding Nemo and you should understand (oh! We saw loads of Nemo’s too…they all had both parents this time…and sisters!) And to stay at the ‘safety stop’ before you ascend you had to hold on to the coral for dear life! At one point, because there were so many of us in the same area, I lost both my buddy and my guide and all I could see was people’s bubbles everywhere…I had no idea where my guide was until he found me after about 30 seconds and grabbed my arm. But let me tell you, even after 10 seconds in a strong current the fear starts to set in…but I stayed calm…just.
So that’s you all caught up on the diving area and yes I have a waterproof camera and no I didn’t take photos…I was too busy learning and concentrating to have fun haha.
Thursday also represented a landmark; one month down; two to go. Yes it’s been a month. Part of me feels like it’s gone by quickly but mostly it feels like I’ve been going for 2/3 months already. Weird. How has it been so far? Harder than I thought but still good.
Now to the Dear Mr letters:
You’re a master diver and were busy filming the diving locations which I respect. BUT despite knowing I was there, you barged right into me, kicked your flippers in my face and threw me off course in a stupidly strong current…how ‘safe and calm’ do you think that’s going to keep me?
Signed I Wanted to Drown You.
You were my guide for the last dive of the day and made me feel calm, safe and held on to me when the current was pulling me away. I know that you’re French but I can forgive you because your accent was gorgeous and you were smoking hot!
Love always, I need the ‘kiss of life’
When I ask you if ‘Phuket is expensive’, I want to find forum discussions about food, drink and fuel not message board upon message board discussing the price and quality of women…even from the bar owners!
As Always, You Disgust Me!